AgrAbility News for May 2020

Maine AgrAbility News

With the recent restrictions to travel and event cancelations, Maine AgrAbility staff have been busy developing webinars on relevant topics.
  • On May 14, Project Coordinator Lani Carlson presented “Maine AgrAbility 101” as part of the “Employment for ME Employment Services Workforce Development System” monthly webinar series. There were 78 attendees learning about the program, resources, and network partners.
  • On May 20, 2020, staff hosted the webinar “Stress, Resilience, and Resources: Responding to the Impacts of Covid-19 on Farms”. Extension professor Leslie Forstadt, Ph.D., presented information about stress, building resilience, and available resources to meet farmers’ needs during this ever-changing time. There were over 30 attendees for this event. This recording can be viewed here.
  • On June 2, Maine AgrAbility presented “Arthritis and Agriculture: The Importance of Protecting Your Joints”. Staff collaborated with the Maine CITE Coordinating Center to offer this free webinar on making small changes in farmers’ working routines and how using assistive technology (AT) can significantly reduce injury to the joints. This was a discussion of arthritis, the prevalence of the disease in farmers, and possible modifications to reduce its effects. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here.
  • Maine AgrAbility has an upcoming webinar, “The Essentials of Accessibility: School and Community Gardens”, scheduled for June 16, 2020. This presentation discusses planning for school and community gardens for all users including those of all ages and abilities. The presentation includes concepts on making the garden an enjoyable destination and how assistive technology in the form of adaptive garden tools can help. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit the Maine AgrAbility website.
Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) has redesigned their Level 1 OT field work experience for spring 2020. Three Maine AgrAbility staffers have delivered interactive webinars to the students about AgrAbility farm visits (Brie Weisman, OT/L), assistive technology (Kelley Spencer, COT, ATP) and adaptive driving (Ketra Crosson, OT/L).
Staff have recently finalized publication of the “Veteran rack card” as well as a “Checklist for Veterans Who are Farming” to help veterans become familiar with informational resources/agencies/organizations in Maine. These new resources are available here.
A couple of other recent publications Maine AgrAbility helped to develop are:
  • Bulletin #1063, “The Benefits and Drawbacks of Farm Work Experience in Maine”
  • Bulletin #2021, “Why Beekeeping in Maine Might Be a Suitable Enterprise for Persons with Disabilities”

National AgrAbility News

The NAP was informed that its video AgrAbility: Restoring Hope, Renewing Productivity with Eric Beckman was chosen to receive a 2020 ASABE Educational Aid Blue Ribbon Award. Many thanks to all who contributed, especially Nebraska AgrAbility.


Toolbox Spotlight

Things are really heating up outside! Worn like a vest, the ExtremeMist Personal Cooling System generates a cloud of cooling moisture that can reportedly reduce the ambient temperature around face, neck, and upper body by up to 30º. The system consists of a 2-liter-capacity hydration backpack and a misting unit, which includes a rechargeable battery-powered pump plus connectors, hoses, clips, and nozzles.